Though she be but little, she is fierce: a threenager in waiting

Youngest is going to be three next month. Three! I can’t quite believe it. All clichés about the passing of time are spot on. I remember her birth more vividly than those of her brothers.

Not simply because it was more recent, but because of how far removed it was from the quiet homebirth we had planned. It ended up being one of the happiest days of our lives but, for a while, was terrifying.

Happily, her dramatic arrival gave an inaccurate first impression. She has got on with things calmly and quietly since then. She fitted seamlessly into the family, has nailed every milestone so far and settled into nursery without a single tantrum.

Despite the odd experiment with vandalism, she has remained a chilled-out little girl. This is all about to change, however. We’re soon going to have a ‘threenager’ on our hands!

Having negotiated this stage twice before, we thought we knew what to expect. But the early warning signs this time suggest that she’s going to be more of a force to be reckoned with than her brothers were.

She is still very much in the small and cute phase, which makes it all the more arresting when she gives us attitude. Which, it would appear, she has in plentiful supply.

Having two older siblings to copy has certainly played a part, but a lot of it comes from within too. Though she be but little, she is fierce!

She has taken to answering back when told how not to behave. For example, she slapped the six-year-old the other day. My wife and I both told her off, only for her to respond “I’m not saying sorry.” We were both lost for words and, to be honest, had to leave the room in case one of us laughed in disbelief.

Then yesterday, we were at my parents’ house for Sunday lunch. Keen to get her to eat at least a small amount of veg, I made what I thought was an appealing offer. “Eat that bit of carrot and you can have some cheesecake,” I said.

She looked at it, then at me and said “Get in the bin”. From her hero to Oscar the Grouch in four monosyllabic words. Of course, I laughed this time so that’s that. I’ve made a rod for my own back, but how can you fail to be amused by that?

A year of being outwitted by someone half my size awaits. I believe the threenager stage can also be classified as character building…

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